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United Way gala marks $20-M donation milestone

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More than 600 people celebrate the highest-ever fundraising numbers for United Way Winnipeg at a gala Thursday.

BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Enlarge Image

More than 600 people celebrate the highest-ever fundraising numbers for United Way Winnipeg at a gala Thursday. Photo Store

United Way Winnipeg celebrated raising $20 million with a gala Thursday night for business and political leaders that drew more than 600 people to the Victoria Inn on Wellington Avenue.

The campaign success marked a milestone for the service agency, which has never raised that much money.

The fall campaign will fund programs and services the rest of the year, the agency said in a press release.

Campaign chairman Steve Chipman made the formal announcement at the gala, where Manitoba Family Services Minister Kerri Irvin-Ross and Mayor Sam Katz also made speeches that praised Winnipeg's generosity.

"Back in September we launched the campaign... We promised this community we would raise $20 million. We had some good early results but you never know what obstacles (lie ahead)," Chipman said in the final buildup to the big announcement at the gala.

Red and white balloons fell from the ceiling and a splashy sign in red glitter letters that spelled out "$20 million" punctuated the celebration, as Chipman confirmed the goal matched this year's target.

Chipman shared the stage with more than a half dozen people, all recipients of services and programs the charity funds as a band struck up an upbeat tune in celebration. Each of the people contributed to the success of the campaign by sharing their personal stories in promotions to collect pledges.

All had been helped by services that are supported by United Way.

Chipman told the audience that while it is true the goal was reached, the campaign is still at work collecting the final donations pledged as part of the three-month campaign.

This is the second year the agency set a $20-million target. Last year, it fell short, raising $19.7 million. This year marked a milestone, Chipman said.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 17, 2014 B5

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